Food drive has high hopes in tough times

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In a time when most organizations are suffering, nonprofit Keystone Community Services continues to thrive and grow.

Located in St. Paul, Keystone helps families in economic crisis meet their nutritional needs. According to the organization’s basic needs program director Christine Pulver, the tough times haven’t affected Keystone.

“Basic needs services like ours are actually doing fairly well,” Pulver said.

Keystone counts on donations to make up 25 percent of its food and for the past year-and-a-half St. Thomas’ Academic Affairs food drive has been instrumental to that 25 percent.

Senior Kathryn Pogin, founder of the food drive at St. Thomas, is passionate about feeding the hungry. This year’s food drive started Nov. 11 and end Nov. 20.

“Hunger is just one of those things that no one should suffer from, especially in a country that is as well off as ours,” she said. “I think that it should be a basic human right.”

Pogin wants to nearly double last year’s totals

Despite the economy, this year’s food drive goals are higher but Pogin believes it’s attainable.

“We want to get 800 pounds of food and $300,” she said. “Last spring we did 405 pounds of food and around $200; somewhere around there,” she said. “We want it to be big but we want it to be achievable.”

Pogin’s optimism toward the St. Thomas community’s effort to donate hasn’t failed her yet.

“I know donations overall are down,” she said. “But at least at St. Thomas, as the economy kept going south we kept getting more donations every time.”

As for Keystone, the organization will soon face a different kind of challenge.

“Very soon we’re going to hit capacity and we can’t serve beyond that because while the number of services are up we have the same number of staff hours, volunteer hours and the same facility we’re operating in,” Pulver said. “We will not be able to serve everyone who comes through our doors at that point.”

But plans to expand the food shelf are just part of the problem.

“I’ve been looking to expand for three years now and that process is not going well,” she said. “There are only so many places that a food shelf can be located in a community both by zoning and by transportation.”

Even with an uncertain future, feeding the hungry is still Pulver and Pogin’s main priority.

“Right now we’re doing fairly well meeting the needs of our community, but there’s only so far we can stretch,” she said.

Pauleen Le can be reached at

3 Replies to “Food drive has high hopes in tough times”

  1. *We are hoping to nearly double our results overall this year from last year, but actually last spring we collected about 705 pounds of food.

    And big thanks to everyone else in Academic Affairs because the whole office really pitches in on this; especially to the other three student workers who help organize it- Bitsy Brazill, Renee Lamers, and Mary Phelan!

  2. If any of you Facebook users are interested in getting regular food drive updates the students involved in the food drive made a Facebook group called UST Academic Affairs Food Drive. You can search for the group and join!

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